February 20, 2013

GAME PREVIEW- No. 4 seed Men’s Basketball Takes On No. 1 Seed Capital In OAC Tournament Semi-finals

No. 4 seed Mount Union faces the No. 1 seed Capital in the semi-finals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m in Bexley, Ohio. 

The winner of Thursday's game will advance to take on the winner of the No.3 seed Wilmington/No. 2 seed Marietta in the OAC tournament finals Saturday at the highest remaining seed at 7:30 p.m.  

The game will be broadcast LIVE AUDIO on the radio on 1310 AM WDPN (Alliance) and be simulcast online with a LIVE STATS and LIVE VIDEO feed of the game.

Mount Union enters Thursday game having defeated the No. 8 seed Otterbein 66-60 Tuesday evening in the OAC tournament second round which was their first victory in the conference tournament since 2005. 

The Purple Raiders rank first in the conference in rebounding (37.1 rpg), second in scoring (76. 1 ppg) and fourth in free-throwing percentage (73.9%).  Sophomore Nate Jacubec (Struthers/Struthers) leads the Raiders in scoring (15.3 ppg) and steals (1.3 spg). 

Capital received a double-bye into the semi-finals as one of the top seeds and enters Thursday's matchup on an eight-game winning streak with their last loss coming on Jan 19 at Baldwin Wallace (79-67)

The Crusaders rank first in the conference in three-point percentage (41.6%), second in field goal percentage (47.2%) and give up the least amount of points (64.0 ppg). Spencer Niekamp leads the Crusaders in scoring (15.1 ppg) and Tim Congrove and Niekamp are the top two three-point shooters in the conference with 50.5 % and 47.1% respectively. 

Capital has been dominant in its home gym and since the Capital center opened in 2011, the Crusaders have compiled a 127-30 record (80.9%). 

OAC TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Mount Union is making its 53rd tournament appearance, which ties Capital for the most in conference history. The Raiders have a 24-51 record and won its only title in 1997. In last seasons OAC tournament, the Raiders lost 56-52 at Ohio Northern in the first round. 

Capital is making its 53rd tournament appearance and has a 50-48 record and has won four tournament titles (1971, 1984, 2007, and 2012). Last season, the Crusaders were crowned OAC regular season co-champions with John Carroll and earned the second seed in the OAC tournament where they advanced to the finals and defeated Wilmington 70-66.

Capital and Mount Union have faced each other seven times in the OAC tournament with the Crusaders holding a 6-1 record against the Raiders. 

1971- #2 Capital 123, #1 Mount Union 94

1989- #2 Capital 69, #7 Mount Union 51

2002- #2 Capital 80, #3 Mount Union 63

2003- #2 Capital 62, #3 Mount Union 56

2005- #7 Mount Union 95, #2 Capital 75

2008- #1 Capital 67, #8 Mount Union 54

2009- #2 Capital 95, #7 Mount Union 56

THE SERIES

This will be the 100th meeting all-time between the two schools with Capital holding a 73-26 advantage. The Crusaders swept the season series this year (61-57 at Capital and 82-73 in Alliance) and have won nine of the past ten matchups with the Raiders, with the lone Mount Union win coming on Jan 16, 2008 which was a 68-66 victory in Alliance.

Mount Union Stat leaders

Points- Nate Jacubec- 15.3 

Rebounds- Jarrett Ruffin- 5.2

Assists-T.J. Gillespie- 2.6

Steals- Nate Jacubec- 1.3

Blocks-Jarrett Ruffin 1.2

Projected Mount Union Starters

3-   Justen Little, Sr., G, Galion/Galion - 2.4 ppg, 2.5 apg

10- Cody Dillon, Fr., G, Newton Falls/Newton Falls – 8.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg

20- Nate Jacubec, Fr., F, Struthers/Struthers – 15.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg

30- Stevie Griffin, So., F, Canton/ Massillon Jackson– 12.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg

45- Matt Kiger, Sr., F, Williamstown, W. Va./Williamstown – 7.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Capital Stat Leaders

Points-Spencer Niekamp– 15.1

Rebounds- Spencer Niekamp – 5.6

Assists- Mitch Westerheide - 3.9

Steals- Mitch Westerheide – 1.2

Blocks- Ben Jackson– 0.7

Capital Projected Starters

11- Mitch Westerheide, Sr., G, Fort Loramie/Fort Loramie- 8.0 ppg, 3.9 apg

20- Andrew Bolka, So., F, Xenia/Xenia- 4.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg

23- Tim Congrove, Sr., G, Circleville/Logan Elm/Walsh- 8.9 ppg, 1.6 apg

24- Michael Sommer, Sr., F, Celina/Celina- 12.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg

40- Spencer Niekamp, Sr., F, St. Henry/St. Henry- 15.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Coaches 

Mike Fuline (Kent State '98) is in his second season as head coach at Mount Union and has compiled a 23-29 overall record as head coach of the Purple Raiders.  Prior to becoming head coach of the Raiders, Fuline had a successful coaching career at the high school level that included winning the 2010 OHSAA Division I State Championship at Massillon Jackson.  Prior to coaching at Massillon, he was the head coach at Rootstown high school (2003-2005). At Rootstown, his 2003-04 team posted a 16-6 record and won a sectional championship while his 2004-05 team went 20-4, shared the league title and won a district championship. Fuline was named 2004 Ohio's Division III Co-Coach of the Year.

Damon Goodwin (Dayton '86) is in his 19th season as head coach at Capital and has compiled a 324-186 record as head coach of the Crusaders.  Goodwin is the winningest coach in Capital men's basketball history has been award OAC coach of the year five times was the 2009 NABC NABC Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year.  Prior to coaching the Crusaders, Goodwin spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Wittenberg University. Upon graduation from Dayton, Goodwin was choosen 147th overall in the NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns.

TEAM STATS COMPARISON

Team Stats 

Mount Union

Capital

Points per game

76.1 (2nd)

70.4 (8th)

Points Allowed per game

73.5 (8th)

64.0 (1st)

Field Goal %

45.1% (5th)

47.2 (2nd)

3 Point %

37.9% (3rd)

41.6% (1st)

Free throw %

73.9% (4th)

74.0% (Tied for 2nd)

Rebounds

37.1 (1st)

31.7 (9th)

Assists

12.6 (5th)

14.3 (1st)

Turnovers

14.3 (9th) 

12.2 (3rd)

MOUNT UNION PLAYER NOTES

Jimmy Darnley - Jr., 6-5, F, Canton/GlenOak

  • Has played in all 26 games with three starts
  • Season-high/ Career-High 7 points vs Adrian (12/8/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 8 rebounds at Westminster (11/17/12)

Cody Dillon - Fr., 6-4, G, Newton Falls/Newton Falls

  • Has started 25 games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists vs Thiel (11/17/12)
  • Season-high/Career-High 3 steals, three times with last vs Wilmington (2/16/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 blocks, two times with last vs Otterbein (2/19/13)

Tyler FausnightJr., 6-3, F, Uniontown/North Canton Hoover

  • Has played in five games this season
  • Season-High 5 points at Adrian (Mich) ((11/28/12))
  • Season-High 3 rebounds at Adrian (Mich) ((11/28/12)
  • Career-High 12 points, two times with last vs Rust (Miss) ((11/27/10))
  • Career-High 8 rebounds at Hiram (11/15/10)
  • Career-High 2 assists, two times with last at Muskingum (12/22/10)
  • Career-High 2 steals, two times with last at Westminster (Pa) ((11/19/10)
  • Career-High 2 blocks vs Rust (Miss) ((11/27/10))

T.J. Gillespie - Jr., 5-11, G, Toledo/Toledo St. John's

  • Has come off the bench in 20 games this season
  • Season-high 13 points vs Wilmington (2/16/13)
  • Season-high 3 rebounds, five times with last vs Otterbein (2/19/13)
  • Season-high/career-high 8 assists, two times with last vs. Baldwin Wallace (1/31/13)
  • Season-high 2 steals, two times with last vs Ohio Northern (12/5/12)
  • Career-high 20 points vs. Ohio Northern (1/8/11)
  • Career-high 3 steals vs John Carroll (1/26/11)
  • Career-high 5 rebounds vs Rust (Miss.) (11/27/10) and vs Piedomont (Ga.) (11/28/10)

Stevie Griffin - So., 6-3, F, Canton/Massillon Jackson

  • Has played in 18 games this season with 16 starts
  • Season-high/Career-high 25 points at Wilmington (1/12/13)
  • Season-high 7 rebounds, two times with last at Muskingum (2/7/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 4 assists, two times with last at Ohio Northern (2/9/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 blocks, four times with last at Muskingum (2/7/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 3 steals vs John Carroll (1/23/13)
  • Career-high 6 three-pointers at Geneva (11/19/11)
  • Career-high 8 rebounds vs. Westminster (11/22/11) and at Muskingum (2/1/12)
  • Played for Coach Fuline and won 2010 OHSAA Division I state title at Massillon Jackson High School

Nate Jacubec - So., 5-11, G, Struthers/Struthers

  • Has started 24 games this season
  • Leads team in scoring (15.3 points) and steals (1.3 steals)
  • Season-high/Career-high 31 points at Wilmington (1/12/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 10 rebounds, two times with at Baldwin Wallace (12/20/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 7 assists at Hiram (11/24/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 4 steals vs. Findlandia (12/30/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 6 three-pointers at Wilmington (1/12/13)
  • 2012 Purple and Gold Financial All-Tournament Team
  • 2012 OAC Freshman of the Year
  • 2012 Buzz Ridl All-Tournament Team

Evan Keeslar - Fr., 6-3, G, Uniontown/Green

  • Has come off the bench in all 26 games this season
  • Season-high/Career-high 10 points at Adrian (11/28/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 5 rebounds Hiram (11/24/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 assists three times, with last vs John Carroll (1/23/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 6 free-throws at Adrian (11/28/12)

Matt Kiger - Sr., 6-5, F, Williamstown, W.Va./Williamstown

  • Has played in all 25 games with 21 starts 
  • Season-high 19 points vs Thiel (Pa) ((11/16/12)) 
  • Season-high/Career-high 10 rebounds vs Baldwin Wallace (1/30/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 assists, nine times with last at Hiram (11/24/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 blocks vs Baldwin Wallace (1/31/13)
  • Career-high 20 points at Otterbein (12/4/10) and vs. Waynesburg (12/30/10)
  • Career-high 9 rebounds vs. Waynesburg (12/30/10)
  • Career-high 9 free-throws vs Capital (1/16/10)
  • Career-high 2 steals, four times with last vs #24 Marietta (1/5/11)

Jerod Lane - Jr., 6-6, F, North Canton/Hoover

  • Has come off the bench in 13 games this season
  • Career-high/Season-high 5 points, two times with last vs Muskingum (1/26/13)
  • Career-high/Season-high 5 rebounds vs Muskingum (1/16/13)

Justen Little - Sr., 5-10, G, Galion/Galion

  • Has started all 26 games this season
  • Season-high 10 points at Otterbein (12/15/12)
  • Season-high 5 rebounds vs Otterbein (2/19/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 7 assists, three times with last at John Carroll (12/05/12)
  • Season-high 3 steals, two times with last at John Carroll (12/5/12)
  • Career-high 15 points at Heidelberg (2/18/12)
  • Career-high 7 rebounds, two times with last at Ohio Northern (1/7/12)
  • Career-high 4 steals at John Carroll (1/25/12)

Taylor Moore - Fr., 6-6, F, North Canton/Hoover

  • Has played in all 26 games with one start (vs. Thiel)
  • Season-high/career-high 20 points at Heidelberg (1/19/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 10 rebounds vs Pitt-Greensburg (11/20/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 blocks, two times with last vs Adrian (Mich) ((12/29/12))
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 steals vs Wilmington (2/16/13)
  • Had first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds vs Pitt-Greensburg (11/20/12)

Jarrett Ruffin - Fr., 6-6, F, Northfield/Nordonia

  • Has played in 25 games this season with 12 starts
  • Leads the team in blocks (1.2 bpg) and rebounding (5.2 rpg)
  • Season-high/Career-high 20 points, two times with last at Marietta (1/9/13) 
  • Season high/Career-high 10 rebounds, two times with last at Ohio Northern (2/9/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 4 blocks vs Marietta (2/13/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 steals, two times with last vs Muskingum (1/16/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 2 assists, two times with last vs Wilmington (2/16/13)
  • Had first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds at Wilmington (1/12/13)

Kyle Scelza - Fr., 6-1, G, Stow/Stow

  • Has come off the bench in all 26 games
  • Season-high/Career-high 16 points at Hiram (11/24/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 6 rebounds and 4 assists vs Pitt- Greensburg (11/20/12)
  • Season-high/Career-high 4 three-pointers six times, with last vs John Carroll (1/13/13)
  • Season-high/Career-high 4 steals vs John Carroll (1/23/13)
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